AMES, Iowa — An Iowa State University College of Design student has been awarded a nationally competitive Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State.

Jeffrey Gutierrez, a senior in industrial design from Perry, received a $3,500 Gilman Scholarship to study drafting and design technology at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, this fall semester.

“Creativity and innovation are among my biggest values, but they can only be at their best when one isn’t stuck in a single perspective. That is why it’s so important to seek out new opportunities and ideas,” Gutierrez said. “I expect that being immersed in the Swedish culture will transform my way of thinking and will help my creativity.”

Gutierrez, who is interested in a user experience design-related career, said KTH offers access to courses and topics not available at Iowa State, such as classes on haptics and tactile interaction. And he’s looking forward to living in Sweden, which is ranked as one of the most innovative and “green” nations in the world.

“My design practice will always be influenced by ethical decisions about the environment and sustainability. Living and studying in Sweden will help me develop new habits and ideas about creating a more sustainable world and provide lessons I will carry with me long after I graduate,” he said.

For this ISU Multicultural Vision Program (MVP) scholar, studying abroad was a goal that potentially seemed out of reach.

“I firmly believe that no matter what their background is, a student should be able to get the most out of their time in college. But being the first in my family to go to college, not much guidance was available. I was a true beginner in every sense,” Gutierrez said.

“For many of us, money tends to be an issue for our families, and just simply getting through college is enough. The Gilman Scholarship Program makes it clear that anyone should have the opportunity to extract as much as possible from the experience” and provides the resources to do so, he said.

Gilman scholars are required to develop a follow-on service project to raise awareness of study abroad and the Gilman scholarship among their peers on campus or in their home community. To help other Iowa State students learn about the scholarship program and encourage them to apply, Gutierrez plans to give presentations to the next cohort of MVP scholars and to students in the industrial design department, and use his design skills to create materials to share information with a larger audience.

“After being abroad for a semester, I could talk about the benefits and my own personal experiences. I would be able to answer any questions classmates have about the process, making the entire idea of going abroad less intimidating,” Gutierrez said. “Most importantly, I could communicate that this is a possibility they could make a reality and how the Gilman Scholarship helped me complete my goals.”


Jeffrey Gutierrez, Industrial Design student, jeffreyg@iastate.edu
Anne Grevstad-Nordbrock, Study Abroad Center, (515) 294-9638, annegn@iastate.edu
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289, hsauer@iastate.edu